After completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology, graduates often choose to join professional associations for psychologists with the goal of building strong connections and networking with professionals to increase the likelihood of landing job opportunities. Joining a professional association can be extremely beneficial for individuals seeking to expand their network, take charge of their career, learn the best practices, broaden knowledge, and impress future employers on resumes. Since there are a multitude of professional associations devoted to psychology worldwide, the following is a guide to the best associations that are guaranteed to deliver top-notch opportunities to jumpstart a rewarding career in psychology.
American Psychological Association (APA)
As the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, the American Psychological Association (APA) is also the world’s largest organization of psychologists with more than 134,000 members around the globe. With membership offered to researchers, educators, clinicians, students, and consultants, the mission of the APA is to advance the creation, communication, and application of research-based knowledge in psychology to benefit society by improving lives. Psychologists who become members of the APA benefit from a Member Discounts Program on journals or books, access to online databases, subscription to “The American Psychologist,” and discounts on registration to participate in the APA Annual Convention for further learning opportunities.
Association for Psychological Science (APS)
Previously referred to as the American Psychological Society, the Association for Psychological Science (APS) is a non-profit organization exclusively devoted to the advancement of scientific psychology studies at the national and international levels. Considered the largest general organization focusing mainly on psychology research with more than 25,000 members worldwide, the APS aims to promote, protect, and advance the interests of scientifically oriented psychology in research, application, education, or the improvement of human welfare. Only open to members who possess a doctoral degree in psychology or a closely related field, the APS consists of members who are scientists, educators, clinicians, researchers, and administrators/leaders.
National Alliance of Professional Psychology Providers (NAPPP)
With a focus on promoting and advancing the clinical practice of psychology, the National Alliance of Professional Psychology Providers (NAPPP) has a strong mission for promoting doctoral level practice to improve healthcare policy. As a large association of professional psychologists dedicated to promoting quality psychological practice with an effective mental health system, the NAPPP offers membership to licensed doctoral psychologists, retired psychologists, and PhD students aspiring to deliver healthcare related services. With an annual membership fee, psychologists in the NAPP are eligible to receive free continuing education courses, practice tools, malpractice insurance, electronic health records, and subscriptions to the highly regarded monthly newsletter called “The Clinical Practitioner.”
Although these are the top three professional psychology associations in the United States with the highest number of enrollments and networking opportunities, there are various other organizations that are related to a specific subset of the field. Depending on individual career or research interests, some other popular organizations include the American Educational Research Association, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, National Association of School Psychologists, and Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. For aspiring or veteran psychologists searching for membership options, it is highly recommended that these three professional associations for psychologists are considered as well as all organizations specifically devoted to their individual interests in psychology.